Thursday, 22 May 2008

Are we prepared?

I wonder if the title of the draft Queen's speech document published by the government this month is not without irony? It has been entitled "Preparing Britain for the Future", and was launched by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the House of Commons earlier in May; ignoring the first ridiculous thought that occurred to me, that it is as well that the government is preparing us for our future rather than for our past, but I let that one slide past.

Instead I was struck by the thought that given recent election results and the fact that there are signs that certain groups have spotted what they believe might be weakness in our nation's leadership and are circling ready to feed upon its carcass - it did fleetingly occur to me that this government might not have much of a future to lead us into - even as I write this the results for the Crewe and Nantwich by-election are anticipated. But that is not my real worry, no my real concern is about our preparedness to respond to the govenrment's request for feedback.

This draft document is peppered with items upon which the government is asking for our opinion, and tells us of other matters upon which our opinion had already been sought. I wonder how many small businesses are aware of this opportunity to feed directly into the government's thinking - very very few that I have spoken to were aware of it. However, a number of large organisations have already made comments and are publicly saying as much, but there are several proposed bills that will impact directly upon the small businesses who might be out of the loop.

My advice is to follow these links:

an extract:
Business rate supplements: a White Paper (October 2007)
followed extensive public debate on this subject, and the measures in it will not be subject to further consultation before the Bill is introduced. However, the Government will be consulting on the detail of implementing the scheme through secondary legislation and guidance, for example arrangements for votes on supplements where required and defining "economic development". In the meantime any suggestions on detailed implementation of the policy set out in the White Paper should be sent to

For many of the issues in the paper:

Go to the 10 Downing Street and Parliament web-sites and read the whole document - if, like me, you have difficulties finding the paper try the Northern ireland Office site - it's all there. Very well informed are the folk of Northern Ireland.

Remember that these consultations may lead to regulation that will affect your business - act now or miss the opportunity.

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